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1984 - 2024

40th Anniversary

This year marks 40 years since we opened the doors to what was called the North Sea Museum back then for the first time.


The Nordsøen Oceanarium
from 1984 - 2024

A lot has happened in the past 40 years of our aquarium in Hirtshals.
Below, we have complied a short list of a few select moments in our history. If you want to know more, check our exhibition.


Inauguration of the Nordsømuseet

Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II inaugurated the Nordsømuseet which was a combination of an aquarium and a contemporary museum for modern fishery.

It is recognized by the government as a culture-historical museum.

At the time, we anticipated some 145,000 visitors per year but the actual number turned out to be an amazing 250,000 visitors.

The Largest Standalone Fish Tank in Europe

At the time of the opening, the large Centerakvarium (the Central Fish Tank) was the largest standalone fish tank in Europe with impressive 120,000 liters of salt water.


Visitor number 2,000,000

On Tuesday August 27, 1991 - only 7.5 years after the opening - visitor number 2,000,000 checked in.

Visitor number 2,000,000 at Nordsømuseet was welcomed by Susanne Fibiger, the then Curator (on the right.)

Almost 9 Million Visitors in 40 Years

In January 2024, exactly 40 years after the official opening, 8,934,917 visitors have passed through our doors.


Inauguration of the Oceanarium fish tank

The Nordsømuseet was expanded to include the Oceanarium tank - a large fish tank with 4.5M liters of water - in order to be able to display the fishes of the North Sea in natural shoals.

The fish tank is shaped as a 22x33m ellipse with a 42cm acrylic windowpane to keep the many millions of liters of water inside the tank.

The Nordsømuseet's patron, Princess Alexandra inaugurated the new tank.

The expansion triggered an increase in visitors and almost 440,000 people visited the Museum during the first year.


Inauguration of the new seal habitat

A new large outdoor area is inaugurated, significantly increasing our total outdoor area from 1,050 m² to staggering 5,000 m².

The new area includes a new large seal habitat with 800,000 liters of sea water for the seals to romp in.

Now, it is possible to watch the elegant seals from the top or from below inside the impressive seal tunnel.

The area also includes an exquisite theme playground for the children and a nice café.

2003 - 2008

From culture-historical museum to zoological facility

In 2003, the status of the Museum changed from government recognized culture-historical museum to government recognized zoological facility.

From the Nordsømuseet to the Nordsøen Oceanarium

The Nordsøcenter and the Nordsømuseet get a shared administration and curator, and in January 2008, the names are changed to the Nordsøen Forskerpark, respectively, the Nordsøen Oceanarium.


Inauguration of the Ekspedition Nordsøen

The older part of the attraction is demolished.

A brand new universe of adventures is expected to open on June 5, 2010.

The ambition is to create a ground-breaking aquarium by integrating exhibitions, fish tanks, and interactive play in an entirely new way.

This new universe of adventures is named ”Ekspedition Nordsøen” and is inaugurated by Countess Alexandra and her family.

2012 - 2015

Replacement of the Oceanarium Tank windowpane

In 2012, a crack appeared in the windowpane of the huge Oceanarium tank and the process of having a new one made and the existing one replaced began.

The work was completed in 2015 and the new Oceanarium tank windowpane was inaugurated by our patron, Countess Alexandra and her family. And then the largest Nordsøen Oceanarium fish tank was finally ready - and with an added bonus in the form of a brand new and impressive shipwreck decoration.

2018 - 2020

Inauguration of the Hunters of the North Sea

Over a period of two years, the large Nordsøens Jægere food chain exhibition is inaugurated. With this exhibition, the visitor is introduced to everything from the tiniest of plankton to the most beautiful jellyfish and the largest predators - and they are introduced to the broader context of our oceans.

In June 2018, the first stage opened including the Big Ocean Window - a large 75 m² interactive screen, and a new improved seal tunnel with interactive installations.

In January 2020, the second stage opened including several storys of fish tanks with everything from jellyfish to shoals of fish and predators, and an impressive bird cliff.


Opening of the By the Lighthouse outdoor area

In July 2020, we expanded our outdoor area by 1,000 m² as we opened up the section of the Emmersbækken creek that was below ground.

This area is now called By The Lighthouse and includes beautiful green grass areas and a hilly landscape with plenty of room for both play and relaxation.

Immerse your feet in the trickling water of the Emmersbækken which snakes across the landscape.

Or enjoy your packed lunch in the shade inside one of the six shelters that are equipped with benches and tables on a daily basis.

Finally, a section of this area is dedicated to indigenous plants and wildflowers in order to secure optimal conditions for some of the species of animal depending on that specific type of vegetation.